535 High St
Preston, VIC 3072
Out of all the restaurants I’ve left behind in Melbourne, one of the ones I miss the most is Dexter. I’ve never come across anything quite like it before, and I’m basically obsessed with their amazing take on American BBQ. So it would come as no surprise that on a recent weekend trip to Melbourne, I made a beeline for the Takeaway Pizza, the sophomore creation by the clever folks behind Dexter.
Takeaway Pizza has been a long time coming, a journey not helped by the bunch of morons who gutted the kitchen of $50000 of new equipment late last year. But finally, the pizza oven was reinstalled, the ice machine replaced, and the restaurant opened after months of foodie anticipation.
Takeaway Pizza does do what its name suggests, but if you’ve ever been to Dexter, you’ll know that projects by this crew are rarely as they appear. As incongruous as it may initially seem, these folks have managed to seamlessly blend two apparently disparate concepts – the local pizza takeaway, and the 80s-glam cocktail bar. The service is friendly and the vibes are laid back and fun, and come night-time, there’s even a disco ball spinning around to jazz things up.
It may not be a popular opinion, but I think anchovies are just the tastiest. As you’d expect, the Anchovies and Bread ($12) hit the craving right on the head. Each fillet of fish was satisfyingly plump, generously pickled in citrus, and paired wonderfully with the crispy, salty, smoky batons of grilled bread.
I’ve always been curious about the iconic New York Cheese Slice ($5), but this is the first time I’ve ever come across it in Melbourne. Served scalding hot straight out of the oven, the crispy bottom, the blend of tomato paste and slightly chewy cheese, and the creamy pocket of mozzarella is a faultless combination of flavours and textures. It is addictively rich and salty, it tastes like lasagne in pizza form, and frankly is the best five dollars you could possibly spend.
On the other hand, the Pastrami and Marrow Pizza ($20) is a break from tradition, but it’s still a complete winner. The sweet sprigs of spring onion and pockets of garlicky marrow melt in the mouth, and the chunks of smoky pastrami are indulgently fatty and smoky. Topped off (or maybe bottomed-out?) with a crispy, chewy base, this is definitely one of the more creative, and most delicious pizzas around town.
With just enough room for dessert, the Hot Apple Pie Donuts ($10) were the way to go. They were hearty and chewy, filled with a centre of tangy apple, and smoothed out by a couple of dollops of sour creme patissiere. It was a surprisingly wholesome finish to the meal, and an all-round satisfying way to wrap things up.
Although I had expected no less, I am seriously in love with Takeaway Pizza. Just as they had done with Dexter, they’ve hit the magic spot that not only makes the entire meal feel like a flawless experience, but also unlike anything else around. To sum it up succinctly in the restaurant’s own words, Takeaway Pizza is ‘No fuss… just pizza, booze, and good times’.
Rating: 15/20 – the bomb-diggity
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.